Biogen Idec shares climbed over 7% as the US biotechnology giant gave an upbeat presentation about its future prospects at the JPMorgan investment conference in San Francisco.

The firm said that its 2007 revenue growth would be above the 18% previously forecast while turnover for this year should increase by 15%-20%. Earnings per share excluding special items are expected to be in the region of $3.20-$3.35, some way above analyst forecasts.

Biogen’s enthusiasm is based in part on increased market penetration of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri (natalizumab). Ahead of the JPMorgan presentation, the firm (along with partner Elan Corp) had noted that more than 21,000 patients worldwide were taking the drug as of late December and Biogen chief executive James Mullen said that he was confident that the company will reach its target of 100,000 patients on Tysabri by 2010.

The company also expressed its pleasure at the “continued solid performance” of its older MS drug Avonex (interferon beta-1a), and noted that it is looking to expand the rheumatoid arthritis and cancer drug Rituxan (rituximab), through a joint venture with Genentech, into autoimmune diseases.

In terms of pipeline, Mr Mullen said that by 2010, the company's goal is to have four new products and/or existing drugs launched in new indications as well as six programmes in late-stage clinical development. "We now have one of the most robust pipelines in the industry,” he claimed, and “we plan to continue growing our core therapeutic areas while expanding into new areas with a focus on first-in-class and best-in-class products."

Investors were certainly impressed with the presentation and Biogen shares ended the day up 7.2% at $55.92. The rise is welcome considering the major declines the stock suffered in the middle of December when the firm announced that it had not received any concrete bids despite being up for sale since October.